Trip reports

North Wales

North Wales
Dunlin, turnstone & purple sandpiper - Steve Settle

Saturday, 14 December 2019

First stop was Conwy RSPB. From the hides overlooking the main lagoon we were able to most of the expected wildfowl and waders but only in small numbers. Eight species of duck (wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard, pochard, tufted duck, goldeneye, shoveler) were counted along with mute swan, great crested grebe, and some red breasted merganser in display mode. The waders comprised oystercatcher, redshank, lapwing, snipe, curlew, and black-tailed godwit.
Coot and moorhen along with a few of the more common gulls (black-headed gull, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull) were also on the water with carrion crows and starlings feeding on the islands.

We spent the best part of an hour hanging around the pond area hoping for a sighting of one of the wintering firecrests but the wind wasn't kind and only a couple of goldcrests, a few robins, a dunnock, and a couple of blackbirds were seen.
A buzzard was seen over the distant hills and around the feeders we found coal tit, goldfinch, house sparrow, and wood pigeon until a fly through sparrowhawk cleared the area. From Conwy we moved on to Rhos Point in the hope of snow bunting, but these hadn't been seen for a few days. We did get the other specialty for the site in the form of 8 purple sandpipers, along with dunlin and turnstones. Other waders included ringed plover and redshank, with other on shore birds including rock pipit, pied wagtail, starling, and black headed gull. Slightly off-shore a cormorant was diving and a couple of more distant common scoter were seen.
We then parked up at Penmaemawr for lunch (in the car out of the wind) where there were a good number of common scoter, a few great crested grebe, and an unidentified shearwater species which passed through.
After lunch we moved slightly inland to look for hawfinch at Caerhun & Llanbebr-y-cennin but without success. A few woodland birds were added to the list, mistle thrush, redwing, jackdaw, and starling, along with blue tit, chaffinch, and house sparrow dining at a garden feeder, and jackdaw, carion crow, and magpie in the adjacent fields.
On the road we added to the days list with pink-footed goose, jay, little egret, and kestrel.

53 Species seen, 4 Attended